The Greens’ different approach to refugees will save lives by offering a safe, legal and humane alternative to dangerous boats – instead of just more cruelty.

  • We will increase Australia’s humanitarian intake to 30,000, which will make a difference and provide hope to people waiting.
  • By resettling to Australia an emergency intake of 10,000 more genuine refugees from our region, we can show refugees that there is a ‘regular’ path to a safe life.
  • 3,800 of the new places should go to urgently resettling assessed refugees directly from our immediate region including Indonesia as recommended by the Houston Panel. The Government hasn’t acted on that recommendation and only accepted 600 refugees from Indonesia this year despite the large backlog of waiting refugees.
  • An extra $70 million per year in emergency funding for safe assessment centres in Indonesia would provide shelter and welfare services to refugees while they wait for assessment and resettlement.
  • We would boost the capacity of the UNHCR in Indonesia and Malaysia to speed up refugee assessments and resettlements.
  • We would shut down all offshore detention in Nauru and PNG, with Australia to assess the claims of people who arrive by boat.
  • No children should be in offshore detention or in detention in Australia.

We need a humanitarian response

We are facing an international humanitarian situation; it’s not a war, or a national emergency, or a border security crisis.

Even with cruelty and deterrence, Australia will never be able to equal the threat of brutal persecutors like the Taliban. Refugees will keep travelling in an ‘irregular’ manner while there are no safe or ’regular’ pathways available to them.

Led by the major parties in their race to the bottom, Australia has lost its way on refugees. The Greens want to turn this around. Our refugee response is for a genuine regional arrangement, founded on compassion, practicality, cost-effectiveness and our international legal obligations under the Refugee Convention.

More humanitarian places will reduce boat trips

The Greens will increase Australia’s humanitarian intake by an additional 10,000 to 30,000 per year as a key element of our plan to save lives and provide safer pathways for refugees.

Instead of spending billions of dollars on inhumane detention centres in Nauru and PNG, Australia could give hope to asylum seekers in Indonesia and, by further increasing our humanitarian program, give them a reason not to embark on dangerous, risky boat journeys.

Safety while waiting in our region

Australia must support better and safer refugee assessments in Indonesia to clear the backlog and stop people being forced by dire circumstances onto dangerous boats.

As the wealthiest country in our region, we should urgently invest $70 million into places where refugee adults and children are currently waiting in unliveable and poverty stricken conditions — not after, but before anyone gets on a boat in desperation.

Providing safety in the form of assessment centres, run by the UNHCR, international welfare organisations and local services, would give refugees hope and a reason to stay on shore.

Children deserve protection

No child should ever be in detention, in Australia or in any other country.

The Labor Government has already had to bring back children from Manus Island after the first failed attempt to house them there. There is no credibility or humanity in the major parties’ cruel and ineffective policies which force children into further danger, including anxiety, lack of proper education and malaria risk, on Manus Island.